Tito from Macho Nacho Productions just posted a video that shows installation and features of the Retro GEM HDMI Mod in a PlayStation 2 slim. As usual, Tito’s video was fun and informative – Please check it out and I’ll add my own thoughts below.
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For me personally, what really stood out (other than Tito’s awesome video, of course) was how clever the engineering of the Retro GEM is: Jumpers to select which console you’re installing it into, 3D-printed brackets to allow for #nocutmod ‘s where possible and even the mounting holes line up with at least one of the screw holes in the PS2 slim. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s used previous products from the same team, however this felt like everything was taken to a higher level and those details weren’t lost on me.
I do wish we could have seen the smoothing filter in action, as many PS2 games were truly designed to take advantage of the “messy” composite video output. At one point in the video, Tito showed a GEM vs Composite comparison and while the colors and detail were much better with the GEM, the character’s hair looked like hair in composite video and pixels in HDMI. I hope that like with the RetroTINK 2x’s smoothing, the GEM’s could blend that together for 3D (NOT 2D!) graphics. I imagine that’s all preference though.
And while there’s only a handful of 1080i games, the lack of support for that format was disappointing. While I normally wouldn’t obsess over a tiny detail like that, but aren’t the PS2 enthusiasts who want to play those games in 1080i the same people who’d spent about $300 to buy a mod board and have it installed in their PS2? The team said they’d work on 1080i passthrough, but with no deinterlacing support at all, even with the $80 software paywall upgrade. Oh well, I guess you’ll just be stuck with the other 3865 PlayStation 2 games. Or, you know, just play those handful in 480p ;p